My sister could be all sweetness and light, one moment. Then the next, she’d be slapping the neighbor’s pet raccoon for stealing her sugar cookie. Such is the case with Francine Flambo, the privileged mayor’s daughter who suffers an alleged kidnapping, on the premiere episode of the short lived action spoof Sledge Hammer!
Flambo, as enacted by the multi-layered Judi Aronson, seems to be a poor, tortured soul when first encountered by series regular Doris Doreau (Anne Marie Martin), who is sent to rescue the young heiress. But (spoiler alert) when it is quickly discovered that Flambo was in on her own kidnapping, the young socialite’s attitude flips and soon Doreau finds her life on the line.
Nicely, Aronson, who is best known to horror fans for her passionate portrayal of Samantha in Friday the 13th: Final Chapter, embraces all the facets of Francine’s personality. She is as convincing as when the character is demurely trembling as when she is savagely threatening to murder everyone around her. Most importantly, Aronson seems to be having a ball and that joyful energy rolls off the screen in delightful waves.
Genre fans should be thrilled to note, as well, that Aronson, who also appeared in such fright flicks as After Midnight and The Sleeping Car, shares most of her screen time with the talented Martin. Martin, before gaining recognition for her work on shows like Days Our Lives, appeared in such slasher stalwarts as Prom Night and The Boogens. Thus, their work here marks the meeting of two genre queens at the top of their game, a true pleasure to watch unfold.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!
She may have succumbed to the icy depravity of Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, but the always revivable Judie Aronson was, thankfully, able to turn the tables on all conquering villainy with her appearance in 1992’s sandy action-fest Desert Kickboxer.
Here as the determined Claudia Valenti, Aronson is able to get the goods on her shady, drug dealing employer and live on until the movie’s romantic, sun streaked fadeout. While filled with the standard good cop-bad cop dynamics of such fare (IE: the chiseled yet damaged hero, the moustache twirling antagonist), Aronson is actually given a full range of emotions to play – feistiness, terror and remorse – and she makes the most of them.
While most of her screen time is opposite John Haymes Newton’s troubled yet victorious Hawk, genre fans may be more specifically attuned to her scenes with genre veteran Paul L. Smith. Smith, who did acclaimed work as dark figures in such acclaimed/cult affairs as Midnight Express, Popeye and Pieces, barely has to lift a muscle here to project all the monstrous activities that his Santos is capable of. Aronson reacts to this deviousness with panache. She allows Claudia both a cautiousness and steel resolve that gives the early encounters between these skilled performers a fun sense of cat and mouse.
Thus, while her work on such projects as Friday, Weird Science and After Midnightmay command focus, fans of her eclectic resume are sure to find much to enjoy in this less visible project, as well.